Consumers Embrace Black Friday “Creep;” More Shoppers Strike At Midnight

More Americans will wake up early, or stay up late, to catch Black Friday deals this year. The American Express Spending & Saving Tracker found that 29% expect to make their first purchase between midnight and 3 a.m., up significantly from 18% in 2011 who said they’d do the same. “Early” is the theme to this year’s Holiday shopping season, as 43% of consumers started their holiday gift buying before Halloween, up from 35% in 2011.

Shoppers plan to spend $848 this year on gifts, compared to last year’s $831. Those making a list report an average of eight people on the gift roll this year, but those checking it twice are adding a ninth: one-fifth (41%) of consumers admit to buying for themselves when they’re out shopping for others.

Black Friday Tradition Lives On

Black Friday will continue to be a popular shopping day, as 45% plan to take advantage of sales and deals. Overall Holiday spending continues its upward trajectory, with consumers spending an average of $17 more than they did in 2011, and $138 more than in 2010. However, because retailers began offering holiday deals long before Black Friday, consumers are expected to be less reliant on this one day to shop bargains. The average Black Friday shopper will spend $398, about 25% less than last year. In fact, one-fifth of shoppers (20%) expect to spend less than $200 on Black Friday, while last year only twelve percent said the same.

“An earlier start to the shopping season coupled with consumers’ expectation of better deals and offers could explain the expected dip in average spending on Black Friday,” said Claire Bennett, EVP Loyalty & Membership Benefits. “Retailers are starting their holiday season earlier and earlier, and consumers are welcoming the chance to shop deals well before the Thanksgiving weekend.”

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